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Old 28-07-08, 09:58 PM
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Default traditional flemish technique

i'm not sure how i ended here with my morning coffee, but everyday I learn more.

I came across this post about flemish technique and the use of egg tempera and oil in in a seven step process... which i'm sure many others have heard of long before now. I'm not sure where this information came from, and gives me much to think about.

http://rourkevisualart.com/wordpress...lemish-method/

In the comments somebody placed a link to this artists work:
http://www.antonovart.com/tech.html

I'm trying to place the image on this page. Does anyone recognize the painting? It seems familar... it doesn't say it is Antonov's work which is very fine, but perhaps it is.

He recommends that artists who want to follow this method stop loving modernism. not easy to do.

I'm curious about the middle tone.. on my screen it almost looks like something close to an earth green followed by an umber or some such... it almost reminds me a little of the way that Scott Bartner layers his work.

is it a good idea to lay a complete middle tone to work from and lose the white of the gesso? will the painting lose luminosity or gain depth? I'd love to hear second opinions on this while I consider the many ways of working an underpainting.

i'm curious that bone black is listed as one of the traditional colours on the blog entry. The artist says it is not the same thing as ivory black which confused me as it is often said to be the same. I found a bone black with the same index number as ivory black at sinopia in dispersion form, but they say it is not ivory black and is described as gritty (which I thought it might not work well for tempera, but perhaps I was wrong to dismiss it.). Which would be the best black for underpainting? Is it best to avoid it, or mixed it from other colours? Should it be mixed it with something like raw umber? I know carbon/lamp black is not recommended for underpainting... and wondered about Roman earth or Ivory black. I would welcome any thoughts on the matter.

Can anybody tell me the difference between bone black and ivory black? I know that black is a different beast in egg tempera and perhaps even in casein underpainting than in oil... I'm assuming casein may fall somewhere between oil and egg tempera in both it's limitation and benefits, and perhaps a mixed black may be better in casein?

if I sound confused, it's because i am. perhaps i just have to dive in and experiment to answer some of these questions, but if someone can save me the expense of wasted materials or time I'd be very grateful.

all the best, jp.

Last edited by jpohl; 28-07-08 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 29-07-08, 02:38 AM
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David Rourke used to be a frequent contributor to this forum.

Ivory black is obtained from charred elephant tusks. Bone Black is made from animal bones. They are chemically the same. The name Ivory Black continues as an historical title but of course nearly all paint called Ivory Black is made from bone. Kremer used to sell true Ivory but I do not see it in the Sinopia catalog. Just to add to the confusion a few years ago I bought Kremer Ivory Black but it turned out to be a mixture of bone and iron oxide black and it was decidedly gritty, which was definitely not a good thing. It did not handle well in egg and left little black specks even when used in lighter blends. I later bought Ivory Black from Kama it was fine and smooth. Regardless bone black does not mix easily with egg, It does not handle well and no matter how much yolk you use it dries to a matt finish without that lovely tempera sheen. I continued to use it in black and white paintings because I needed that shade of black but if I were using black along with color in tempera I would choose Spinel Black. It mixes wonderfully with egg and dries to a beautiful sheen. It is however on the blue side.
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Old 29-07-08, 07:33 AM
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Thank that clears a few things up and i'll have another look at spinel which I've never worked with before... the cool tone could prove useful in instances much like the blue in ivory. I have a small amount of ivory black dry pigment from sennelier and wonder it is in it's true form. Maybe I'll try kamas when I place my next order from them... Kama's only black in dispersion form was carbon black, but I'm not confident in it being the best choice for underpaintings. Shiva's "ivory black" casein turns out to be lamp black...

So it really comes from elephant tusks? Now i feel badly. (I have a special fondness for elephants.) I thought there was another way of manufacturing it these days. Does the bone black have to be gritty? It can't be broken down more? Mixed with raw umber the blue in ivory is meant to give a good neutral that won't alter the chroma of colours that it is mixed with... or so I've read recently. I'm making notes while I collect my pigments, and have a lot of experimenting to do. It's a whole new world.

In a pinch I may just continue to mix my blacks from other colours, and use them in their pure form sparingly.

Last edited by jpohl; 29-07-08 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 30-07-08, 04:01 AM
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Donít worry about the elephants. Iím sure all commonly available Ivory black is actually from domesticated animal bones. I was actually surprised to see that Kremer sold the real stuff (at a hefty premium.) I was under the impression that it was illegal to sell ivory, even old ivory. Perhaps the international laws have been relaxed.

No, bone black neednít be gritty. The stuff I got from Kama is very fine. While it is understandable that Bone black is sold as Ivory Black I find it odd that Shiva substitutes Lamp Black, which is quite a different product.
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Old 30-07-08, 11:11 AM
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Da Vinci Paints sell both a lamp and ivory black for their oils, but both are lamp (PBk6.) I think they label ivory as a "hue" or just black on other mediums. Old Holland refers to it as ivory "extra." I'm sure no elephants were harmed in the production of those pigments. It used to be called "elephantium" I believe. Spinel is nice but kinda pricey.

As for the technique you show, Jennifer, I'm not so keen on using an overall color tint for my underpainting, even as earth tones. I tend to prefer a mix of neutral chroma opposites, or possibly a more neutral gray, but it's mostly the values that's an important starting point. It is a good idea to keep your lighter areas bright to assist you with keeping the chroma high in your top layers.

Last edited by dbclemons; 30-07-08 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 30-07-08, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
As for the technique you show, Jennifer, I'm not so keen on using an overall color tint for my underpainting, even as earth tones. I tend to prefer a mix of neutral chroma opposites, or possibly a more neutral gray, but it's mostly the values that's an important starting point. It is a good idea to keep your lighter areas bright to assist you with keeping the chroma high in your top layers.
Good advice from dbclemons, here, Jennifer. Too dark in the underpainting (especially in the highlights) and your final layers will look dull. You need the luminosity of the white panel shining through.

Phil
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Old 31-07-08, 04:01 AM
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Thank you that is great advice. Then again, I believe Rourke said that the gesso was used for lighter passages. So more like watercolour, than oil...

I wish i knew where he found this information on traditional flemish method. I was curious enough to do a quick search, but couldn't find any immediate source online. It's exciting to think that technology can help us better understand things.

Computers are being used to tell us that an average painting by Van Gogh has slightly under 2 thousand brush strokes. (I caught an documentary in which they were using the number of overlaps to expose forgeries. Not sure that would work with a Botticelli though... )

Thank you again!

Last edited by jpohl; 31-07-08 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 31-07-08, 04:59 AM
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David Rourke has alot of experience with et and experimentation thereof.
I think, Jennifer, you ought to start just playing around with all the possibilities you have heard about and read about. There is alot to be said for just doing it, and learning from your trials and errors. NOT over thinking it is one of the best things I have ever done.
In the beginning of my et experience, (far be it from as vast as others here), I asked so far too many questions with out actually trying out my ideas that I'm embarrassed to say.
All in all we are talking about egg yolk and "dirt". Mix it up! See what it does! Different dirt(s) behaves differently than others. Collect some, use it. It will provide alot of insight. Coarse, fine , whatever.
There are alot of cool pigments out there. Using what you got will tell alot.
Mix oil into your yolk, resin, gum, what have you, you'll be delighted in what you'll discover. Maybe something new!
I surely don't mean to offend.
Happy trails to you, and enjoy the road less travelled.
-eric in oceanside

Last edited by Salamander; 31-07-08 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 31-07-08, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salamander View Post
David Rourke has alot of experience with et and experimentation thereof.
I think, Jennifer, you ought to start just playing around with all the possibilities you have heard about and read about. There is alot to be said for just doing it, and learning from your trials and errors. NOT over thinking it is one of the best things I have ever done.
In the beginning of my et experience, (far be it from as vast as others here), I asked so far too many questions with out actually trying out my ideas that I'm embarrassed to say.
All in all we are talking about egg yolk and "dirt". Mix it up! See what it does! Different dirt(s) behaves differently than others. Collect some, use it. It will provide alot of insight. Coarse, fine , whatever.
There are alot of cool pigments out there. Using what you got will tell alot.
Mix oil into your yolk, resin, gum, what have you, you'll be delighted in what you'll discover. Maybe something new!
I surely don't mean to offend.
Happy trails to you, and enjoy the road less travelled.
-eric in oceanside
no offense taken, and you are quite right... i am a little nervous starting painting again after all these years, but it part of what I have to go through, and pre painting anxiety always seems to be a part of my process.

I didn't question if what David Rouke had said is true, but he refers to recent technology that has been used to examine masterpieces, and wondered where this research that was done and if there is more I could read about it.

It's true that trying to answer every questions might not a good thing. A little confusion might be best worked out in a painting, and there is something to be said for leaving room for play... but to be fair I have a little time on my hands while I'm collecting materials in dribs and drabs as my budget allows. I'm also taking some advice I was given and not rushing into anything. For now I am still working on the studies and some warm up pieces, and hope to have all my supplies within the next few months.

As I heard a six year old across the street say to her brother while waiting to take a turn on a bike "i'm not getting any younger" ... but I do have a few years of painting left in me ;) I'm not quite in the hurry I was in my 20's when I burnt out getting a career underway knowing that if I was going to have children my time would soon be limited, which it has been. Every day I get a little closer to working again, the painting bug takes over more and more, and my studio is beginning to feel more like a working studio again. Where there is a will there is a way...

the information that was given to me in this post alone answers an important question and helps me to forge ahead with much greater confidence. It's painting on a much finer scale than I've done before. I worked with blindfolds (sometimes literally) for too many years i think, and am enjoying researching and understanding more about all my materials...

Speaking of which wondering if the black spinel pigment is always sold in it's natural form? (Sythetic ones are sometimes sold in jewelry.)

I came across this link:
http://coolcolors.lbl.gov/LBNL-Pigme...aints/B05.html
which refers to something called Chrome Iron Nickel Black Spinel as PBk 30. Does anyone know if this is the index number for a natural or synthetic version, and if so is there a difference in working with either? Does the natural even have an index number? (I'll have to ask Sinopia before I place my order in the next day or so.) If I'm going invest money in finding the best supplies I want to know what I'm ordering. It is expensive, but if used in small quantities it could be a wonderful pigment to try and see how it compares to finely ground bone black.

I know it's foolish to believe in the properties that are ascribed to it (that it will protect from harm etc), but much like the symbolism with flowers it appeals to my imagination and sense of the poetic.. maybe more so right now, because I've been listening to audio books by Susanna Clarke while my hands have been busy.

all the best, jp.

Last edited by jpohl; 31-07-08 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 01-08-08, 08:19 AM
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I was under the impression the Spinel Black is only a synthetic pigment and a recent one at that.

Iíve never really understood the requirement to add brown to Bone Black to get a true neutral. I canít see any significant difference between grays made with bone black and lead white and the neutrals in my Munsell student book. Spinel Black on the other hand makes decidedly bluish grays.
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